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How does BSA define "swimming"?

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On 6/19/2019 at 12:49 AM, chief027 said:

I’d say designate a “lifeguard” from your of our safe swim adults (or ask BSA Lifeguard from a Boy Scout Troop), but remember to be in the water the boys need to have a buddy and the “LG” should call buddy checks every 5 minutes. The buddies should stay together, this is not only the rules but good practice for the future when they attend BSA Resident Camp as Boy Scouts 

i know the rules are strict but the G2SS is to be taken seriously 

 I intend to enforce this even if the water is less than knee deep anyway. Like you said, it’s good practice for the boys *and girls*. Not just for Scouts BSA but for life. Everyone of every age and ability should swim with a buddy. 

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1 hour ago, Liz said:

 I intend to enforce this even if the water is less than knee deep anyway. Like you said, it’s good practice for the boys *and girls*. Not just for Scouts BSA but for life. Everyone of every age and ability should swim with a buddy. 

Good attitude!  There's no such thing as too much vigilance when it comes to supervising swim activities.  It's good that BSA provides the Safe Swim Defense training, but it's really nothing more than an awareness course and it needs to be taken to heart by all supervising adults.  I think this is an area where unit leadership should be encouraged to improve their "qualified supervision" level:  take the Aquatics Supervision: Swimming and Water Rescue course, take the BSA Lifeguard course (or similar courses from YMCA, Red Cross, or other organizations).  I would also urge adults not to allow themselves to be distracted when they are tasked with supervising kids: that means no cell phones, no texting, no reading magazines, etc. while "on duty". 

A few points for pause...

  • Most young kids who drown have a distracted/non-observant parent within 200 feet of them.
  • Boys drown 5 times more often than girls.
  • African-American kids are 5 to 10 times more likely to drown than white kids.
  • Even if you do rescue a drowning victim, if he or she has stopped breathing and needs CPR, he or she will likely have permanent brain damage (seconds count)

More facts about drownings are available at the CDC web site: https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html 

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Yes. Another fact is hits home for me as the parent of an Autistic Webelos Scout is that autistic children are at a much higher (not sure the numbers) risk of death by drowning than kids in the general population. And the way my daughter has always been drawn to water and tends to overestimate her ability level, I am super vigilant. Her class had a pool party last week and I was really stressing about having to be at work and not there to supervise her. Then I remembered in her IEP she is required to have a staff member assigned to watch her specifically during all "unstructured" time (due to her yet to emerge skill to recognize and protect herself from bullying by her peers, which has left her with several injuries). My husband was able to convince the principal to assign an instructional assistant to watch her in the pool, since I figured the buddy system wasn't going to be enforced and I was afraid a peer might dare her to take a risk she wasn't ready for. She does know how to swim, and can pass the typical public pool deep water test, but I don't think she'd pass the "Swimmer" level test quite yet. 

I've been working closely with Safe Kids USA for the last 8 years and am painfully aware of how big the risk is around water. The reason we're selecting this particular location is so we can practice the skills in an unusually safe environment for "open water" - but we'll follow all the precautions assigning a rescue person and lookouts and buddy checks and no distractions for the adults assigned to these tasks. It will be good practice for the kids AND the adults. And I recently renewed my CPR certification for kids and adults, but again the water is so shallow it would pretty much take something like a medical emergency in the water (like a seizure or something) to put a child at real risk for drowning. But... you never know! Best to be prepared!

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When I was a child, one of the older kids at my church drowned on a church youth trip. That would have been around 1980-ish. Nobody even noticed he was missing until it was time to load up the bus and go home. They had to send divers out to recover the body. 

I will never forget that boy's memorial service and the impact it had on his family and on our church community. So this is not something I will ever skimp on. 

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